10 Surprisingly Low Crowds at Football's Biggest Clubs and Stadiums

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2014

10 Surprisingly Low Crowds at Football's Biggest Clubs and Stadiums

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    England's drab friendly encounter with Norway attracted just 40,181 fans—a record low for a national team game at the new Wembley stadium (as per The Independent).

    The fact that nearly 50,000 fans stayed away is being viewed as a damning indictment on the current state of the English national team, but the Three Lions aren't the only ones to suffer a low attendance at their home.

    Here are 10 world renowned stadia that have boasted a surprisingly low amount of bums on seats at one stage or another... 

Camp Nou, Barcelona

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    There is seldom a spare seat to be found at the Camp Nou—except when an underwhelming cup game is at hand.

    During last season's King's Cup semi-final with Real Sociedad, just 38,505 fans came to the stadium that can seat nearly 99,000. 

    "Those who do not show up are not as big ‘cules’ as they say they are," Dani Alves told Al Primer Toque after the game (h/t ESPN FC). 

Old Trafford, Manchester

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    Manchester United regularly welcome over 75,000 to home games, but police data in 2013 showed that attendances were often 10,000 lower than the figures quoted by the club. 

    According to the Manchester Evening News, only 33,409 watched United's League Cup clash with Newcastle at the Theatre of Dreams.

    That figure is only eclipsed by the 29,281 who witnessed Wimbledon's visit in April 1990.  

San Siro, Milan

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    Serie A is renowned for its attendance issues, but one would expect the tenants of the San Siro to touch upon its 80,000 maximum capacity.

    Unfortunately not. Inter Milan's average attendance last season was just 36,674 (as per ESPNFC) while Inter's Europa League match with Tottenham in March 2013 was witnessed by just 18,241 people. By contrast, over 70,000 people had turned out to see the same teams in the Champions League in 2010. 

Red Star Stadium, Belgrade

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    Red Star Belgrade fight one of the biggest rivalries in domestic football against Partizan Belgrade, and their Red Star stadium used to house over 100,000 fans.

    These days, the Serbian stadium has a more modest maximum capacity of 55,000. However, in the 2005 Belgrade derby, just 8,000 fans came along. 

    Imagine a north London derby with 8,000 people and you will get the picture. 

Old Wembley, London

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    Wednesday's attendance against Norway was deemed as a huge disappointment, but at England friendlies in the late 1980s, over 40,000 fans would have been seen as a huge swell in support.

    A Rous Cup match between the Three Lions and Chile at the former Wembley Stadium boasted a pitiful crowd of 15,628

Maracana, Rio De Janeiro

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    Legend has it that over 200,000 people watched the 1950 World Cup Final at the Maracana, and a shade over 68,000 watched Germany lift the trophy in the 2014 edition. 

    Several Rio de Janeiro domestic teams use the iconic venue for home games, the biggest of whom is Flamengo. Despite having the second-best attendance in the Brazilian league, they regularly fill less than one third of the Maracana.

    Their average attendance in 2013—a season when anticipation for the World Cup may have been building—was just 26,350 (as per worldfootball.net). 

Olympiastadion, Berlin

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    Berlin's beautiful Olympic stadium has hosted two World Cups and an Olympic Games, and has welcomed over 100,000 people at some stages of its existence.

    The stadium's Bundesliga tenants Hertha Berlin enjoyed an average attendance of 51,889 last season (as per worldfootball.net), which is not terrible for a mid-table side at a 74,000-capacity venue.

    However, Hertha's mixed fortunes over the past few seasons have seen some surprisingly low gates. A September 2009 Europa League match with Latvian side Ventspils was seen by only 13,454 fans (as per Transfermarkt). 

Anfield, Liverpool

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    Anfield currently holds over 45,000 fans, but could cater for over 60,000 during the standing era.

    According to the official Liverpool website, the record low attendance was a paltry 1,000 who came to see them play Loughborough Town in the 1895-96 season. 

    In a more recent era, 9,902 came to see a League Cup game with Brentford in 1983-84, while only 12,021 witnessed a European Cup match with Dundalk the previous season. 

St James' Park, Newcastle

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    Newcastle can pack over 52,000 roaring Geordies into their ever-expanding St James' Park stadium. But in 2008-09, the season when they were relegated from the Premier League for the first time, morale and attendances suffered.

    Following protests against owner Mike Ashley, just 20,577 watched a League Cup defeat to Tottenham in September 2008, marking the lowest home attendance for the Magpies in the Premier League era. 

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

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    The Stadio Olimpico, shared by AS Roma and Lazio, is rarely filled to its 74,000 capacity.

    Last season, Lazio averaged home gates of 29,548 while Roma managed 40,083 (as per worldfootball.net) but attendances are often much lower.

    At a Coppa Italia Round of 16 match between Lazio and Siena in December 2012, for example, just 6,682 fans came along (as per Goal.com). That's just nine per cent of the maximum capacity. 


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